Spectating Ironman Wisconsin

On Sunday, September 13th, we loaded the dogs and headed towards Madison to spectate at Ironman Wisconsin.  Since Madison is over 2 hours from our house, Nick and I knew we wouldn’t make the start of the race.  So we decided the best thing would be for us to leave in the morning to watch the athletes off the bike and the leaders of the pack cross the finish line.

We’ve been spectators at Ironman Texas, Ironman 70.3 Galveston, and Ironman 70.3 Racine.  These races have ample space to bring dogs and still be in sight of the finish line.  Although we had seen pictures and read about Ironman Wisconsin, we didn’t realize the finish line and area near transition were close quarters and not ideal for the dogs.

We arrived around noon and walked around, trying to get a close view of the transition area.  We found a spot near bike out and waited for the leaders of the bike to begin their run.

IMWI Runner 1  IMWI Run

We made our way down to the capital to find a spot a little calmer, as the dogs were getting a little antsy with all of the noise as the athletes made their way out of transition.


We grabbed a bite to eat, and found a spot in the shade to cheer the runners as they made their first (and second) lap around the capitol.


IMWI State Capitol

Weekly Activity Report 09/20/2015

We had a pretty good week, as evidenced by our Fitbit step count.  Our training continues, with the week focusing on spending time in the saddle.

Weekly Activity Report ending 09/20/2015:

Emily –
119,800 steps (daily average 17,114)
Run 10.5 mile
Bike 67.3 miles
Swim 2800 yds
Strength 30 minutes

Nick –
146,823 steps (daily average 20,975)
Run 18.1 miles
Bike 64.6 miles
Swim 2875 yds
Strength 0 minutes

Ironman Steelhead 70.3 – Nick’s Story

IM Steelhead 70.3

It’s been a little over a month and I am just getting around to writing this because . . .

Well, because I didn’t like the result and it was easier to ignore it and hope it went away.  But I feel like I have been pretty honest about everything that goes on with my training here and I am hoping to keep it that way.  So with only a month of ado, here is the report.

Race Weekend – Friday

Bags were packed Thursday so that we didn’t have a lot of delay on Friday.

Transition Bag

Friday at work happened to be a golf tournament for our group and I was playing with a team of co-workers.  It was rainy and the start was delayed by over an hour, so I was worried that I was going to leave late, and alas, I did.  I did leave the tournament early to make sure we had time to get to Benton Harbor that night (or close anyway).  Emily and I left the house around 5 pm, picking up a colleague to drop off in Chicago.  We made really good time on the Illinois highways and dropped him off downtown around 8 pm.  Emily and I continued on, stopping in Indiana for the night.

We ate at Lone Star steak house for dinner and it was pretty good.  The hotel that night treated us well, but it kind of sucked having to take our bikes to the room after 9 pm so that we could turn around and take them back in the morning.

Race Weekend – Saturday
We woke up early and grabbed breakfast at the hotel.  I don’t quite remember what we had, but it was that kind of meal.  We re-loaded the truck and headed on our way.  We had left so that we would make it to check in right when it opened, that was until we got to Michigan and realized that we changed from Central time to Eastern.  That was unexpected.  That meant we were over an hour behind our schedule already.  We parked and walked about a mile to Ironman Village.  The check in process was uneventful.  We were given all of our race stuff and could then head over to transition.

I happened to have a crack on my rear wheel, so I had rented wheels for the weekend.  As we walked to transition, I dropped my bike off to have my wheels put on.  That took about 45 minutes, which gave us enough time to drop off Emily’s bike.  It wasn’t until we had taken her bike into transitiRace Briefing Emilyon that we realized that we couldn’t then take it out until after the race.  That was a bummer because we had planned to ride the run course so that we could get a feel for it, but such is life.

We attended the “mandatory” race briefing and took in all the information for the next day’s race.  Lots of good information.  I am sure that most of this stuff is common place for multiple-time racers, but it was great for us.  It served to calm my nerves a bit.

Afterward, we picked up my bike, I rode it back to the truck to get a feel for the wheels and then back to transition, stopping briefly to have the brakes adjusted on the way there.

After dropping my bike off, Emily picked me up and we left to eat.

The rest of the afternoon is sort of a blur.  We stopped at the grocery to get food and took a nap, then we drove back to the race site and drove the bike course so that we knew what we were in for.  I don’t recall much else from the day.  Kind of a lazy day really.

Bike Course IM Steelhead 70.3

Race Morning
Sunday morning we woke up early and headed to the race.  When we got in the vicinity of the race, traffic got really bad.  Like any race morning, a bathroom couldn’t be close enough and we . . . we were stuck in traffic at 4 am.  It seemed like an endless line to get to a parking spot.  We waited, then moved 10 feet, then waited.  It was endless.

Finally reaching the parking lot, we parked quickly.  We didn’t try to get a close spot.  Anything would be ok.  We grabbed our backs and such and were off to transition.  It was about 300 yards from the car where Emily decided to put on an impromptu acrobatics show.  I’ll let her tell that story, but it ends with us having to find her keys and having another 10 minutes without a bathroom.

After finding those darn keys, we were back on our way.  I finally got to stop at a port a potty just outside of transition.  This was my most favorite part of that morning because I was really stressed out to that point.  After that glorious pit stop, I was back on my way to my bike.

In transition, I was pulling everything out of my bag that I would need that day.  I put it together in a neat pile under my bike’s wheel, then pulled out my wet suit and wandered over to Emily.  She was just finishing up her transition area.  After a few moments we were on our way out to the beach.  But first, and I am sure you have guessed already, another stop at the port a potty.

With pre-race “issues” taken care of we put on wetsuits and meandered to the beach for a quick swim to get used to the water.  It was great.  Water felt pretty good, we were both a little nervous, but ready for the day.  Emily was in an early wave, so we hung out until she got pushed into the chute, and I waited on the beach for my wave.  It was a little nerve racking out there by myself while Em was swimming.  I paced and put my feet in the water for 45 minutes waiting for my wave.

Finally my wave was pushed forward to the water and I waited for the signal to start.

And then, as if the morning hadn’t happened at all, and with no time left to procrastinate, I started.  I swam close to the buoys so that I didn’t add distance to the swim.  I was with my wave and didn’t see too many of them breaking away from me, surely there were some guys that were really fast, but I remember seeing a lot of blue caps around me, that is until around 500 meters when I remember taking a pounding to the face.

I was kicked and it hurt and I was disoriented.  In my mind, I was recovering and moving forward.  It seemed like I was making progress again, but then someone grabbed my arm and I was out of the water.  I was apparently struggling more than I thought I was, to the point that someone saw that it was necessary to pull me out.  Good news, the lifeguards did their job very well and without hesitation.  Bad news, I was done for the day.

They asked me some questions to make sure I was ok, and then took me in.  We waited out there for a few minutes while the guards that pulled me out waited for a relief crew so that someone was out there should anyone else find the same fate as my own.  I hadn’t completely taken in what happened at that point.  It wasn’t until I stepped on the beach that I really figured it out.

I walked the beach disappointed.  My timing chip was taken.  There were many people who offered sympathy and encouragement to try again.  Some told me it had happened to them and it is what motivated them to come back.

Finally, I made my way to the swim finish and waited to catch Emily.  I thought for a while that I had missed her, but then I caught her coming up out of the water.  She’ll tell you about her day, but for me that is where it ended.

Post Race
I started licking my wounds immediately.  Trying to decide if a comeback was within my reach this year, but then decided it wasn’t the best time to make a decision.  So I spent the rest of the day trying to figure out if any amount of preparation could have helped me.  I have a super secret plan now and won’t have that happen again, but if I told you, I’d have to kill you.  Just kidding, I just plan to swim on the outside of the buoys away from the crowd.

This weekend, I made the final decision to make a comeback this year and put Benton Harbor behind me.  I will be racing Austin 70.3 in November and this time nothing is going to stop me from finishing.

August 2015 Totals

Ah, the numbers are going up again.  We had a strong month in August and September is looking even better.  A little ray of hope after our mishap at Steelhead.


Health club dues in August were $9.49 per visit.

Emily Jan Feb Mar April May June July Aug
Swim (miles) 1.4 2.8 6.8 2.8 2.2 0.6 1.4 5.1
Bike (miles) 102.0 102.4 143.4 47.4 112.1 42.4 60.8 101.2
Run (miles) 34.0 21.7 25.4 43.9 12.6 9.8 23.5 31.7
Strength (min) 99 109 183 57 22 0 0 52
Nick Jan Feb Mar April May June July Aug
Swim (miles) 1.6 3.3 5.8 0.7 1.3 0.4 1.4 4.0
Bike (miles) 89.0 116.4 125.0 38.5 82.2 40.9 79.3 93.7
Run (miles) 42.1 36.8 48.0 41.9 18.0 23.7 49.1 42.5
Strength (min) 76 88 123 79 30 0 0 52

Weekly Activity Report 09/13/2015

This was a recovery week, so our Fitbit steps and distances are a little lower than the last few weeks.  The weather was really nice.  A cool front came through this week, making it great conditions to workout outside.  On Sunday, we spectated at Ironman Wisconsin.

Weekly Activity Report ending 09/13/2015:

Emily –
114,443 steps (daily average 16,349)
Run 9.3 mile
Bike 39.6 miles
Swim 3200 yds
Strength 19 minutes

Nick –
122,669 steps (daily average 17,528)
Run 9.2 miles
Bike 40 miles
Swim 3250 yds
Strength 30 minutes

Weekly Activity Report 09/06/2015

Our exercises have been pretty consistent, resulting in more steps counted by  Fitbit.  Below are our distances in each discipline last week.

Weekly Activity Report ending 09/06/2015:

Emily –
129,656 steps (daily average 18,522)
Run 14 mile
Bike 58.7 miles
Swim 1800 yds
Strength 21 minutes

Nick –
138,331 steps (daily average 19,762)
Run 14 miles
Bike 57.6 miles
Swim 1825 yds
Strength 22 minutes